GEI Summer Series: Boom Festival shares secret to 20-year success
For the latest instalment of the GEI Summer Series, organised by A Greener Festival (AGF) and the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), Claire O’Neill talks to Artur Mendes on what would have been the 20th-anniversary edition of Boom Festival.
The Biennial Transformational festival takes place in Portugal and welcomes over 40,000 people from around the world each year, but was forced to reschedule this year’s event due to coronavirus.
Instead, Mendes discusses the triumphs and trials of running Boom Festival for two decades with O’Neill, including the challenges associated with winning AGF’s Outstanding Greener Festival Award six times.
“Due to the pandemic, we risk going backwards in terms of the whole plastic disposable culture”
Other topics discussed include sustainability challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic, the redistribution of budget for sustainability, and the festival’s work with NGOs and communities.
Speaking of the sustainability challenges that have been presented by the pandemic, Mendes says: “We risk going backwards in terms of the whole plastic disposable culture… the governments and many promoters don’t want to risk the safety and the health of the people. I’m already seeing disposable cups are back in Portugal. We are also concerned about the impact of hygiene chemicals on water biology and health. We don’t know how prepared the infrastructure of festivals and events are for this.”
The series launched on World Environment Day (June 5) with Preventing Plastic Pollution Post Pandemic, a virtual panel featuring speakers from the environmental and live events sectors.
European festivals unite to create greener future
A collective of festivals and non-governmental organisations have launched Green Europe Experience (GEX), an initiative working to create a more eco-friendly future for music and arts festivals.
Portugal’s Boom Festival, Dour Festival in Belgium, Pohoda Festival in Slovakia and French event We Love Green have teamed up with sustainability groups A Greener Festival (AGF) in the UK and Germany’s Go Group in Germany as the co-initiators of GEX.
“In the middle of these demanding times, we feel an even stronger urge to use this special moment in history to take a deep breath and work towards healing our connection with this planet,” reads a statement from GEX initiators. “We understand that the big challenges ahead can only be addressed in a co-creation process.”
Using the two main focal points of scenography – festival decor, artwork, installations, design and signage – and food, GEX will work on developing ways to allow festivals to become fully circular through a process of implementation and review.
“We understand that the big challenges ahead can only be addressed in a co-creation process”
The project will take place over a period of three years, with the first year dedicated to minimising the ecological impact of scenography and the second focusing on food.
All findings will be shared with the teams of the festivals involved, local suppliers and stakeholders. A manual will be drawn up and distributed for the use of the wider festival and events industry.
“The GEX project brings together some of the most visionary organisations in this space to act as a catalyst to collectively accelerate the positive changes we need to make,” comments AGF co-founder and director Claire O’Neill.
“We look forward to exploring, learning and sharing ways for creative expression and precious social interaction that puts people and the planet at the forefront.”
GEX is co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme.
Greener Festival Award 2016 winners
Portugal event Boom Festival and We Love Green in France have been named ‘Outstanding’ as 2016 winners of the Greener Festival Award, with Glastonbury and Green Music Fest (USA) also amongst honourees.
All 25 winners of the accolade were revealed last week at Eurosonic Noorderslag in partnership with the Green Event Netherlands. It’s the first events to receive the award since its relaunch last year.
To participate, festivals are required to complete a self-assessment looking at 11 categories of sustainability including travel & transport, waste, local ecosystems and external reach and behaviour. Independent AGF Auditors visit the event to inspect the actions on the ground, and work with the organisers post event to gather supporting evidence and data.
“Events who have achieved the Greener Festival Award 2016 have shown an incredible dedication to walking the talk, minimising the environmental impact of their events and using them as a positive and much needed portal for change.”
Co-Founder of AGF, Claire O’Neill, said: “Events who have achieved the Greener Festival Award 2016 have shown an incredible dedication to walking the talk, minimising the environmental impact of their events and using them as a positive and much needed portal for change. It has not at all been easy, with the most challenging assessments to face events in our 10 year history. We salute all of you!”
An insight to what these events are doing, and what is on the horizon for sustainable events, will be presented at the 9th annual Green Events & Innovations Conference in London on 7 March, in association with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).
André Soares, sustainability designer of Boom Festival, said: “Boom Festival 2016 was a great personal challenge and this award means more than you can imagine. I appreciate all the work [A Greener Festival] have done to increment the evaluation criteria and I believe the results of your work will have a lasting impact in the music and festival industry.”
“Boom is totally independent, no sponsors, and engaging in sustainability is made strictly with our own resources and an amazing contribution of our fabulous Boomers.”
Artur Mendes, manager of Boom Festival, added: “Boom is totally independent, no sponsors, and engaging in sustainability is made strictly with our own resources and an amazing contribution of our fabulous Boomers. On the other hand, we are using the Boom experience to reforest the Boomland and act on many fronts such as charity, on the integration of people, and positively affect the surrounding area of the festival which is one of the poorest in Portugal with unemployment rate of 16% and more than 50% pensioners. We dedicate this award to all Boomers.”
Appearing in the Highly Commended category were Cambridge Folk Festival (UK), DGTL Festival (Netherlands), Glastonbury Festival (UK), Green Music Fest (USA), Heart of Glass Heart of Gold (France), Øya Festival (Norway) and Welcome to the Future (Netherlands). Check out the full list of winners below.
Boom Festival (Portugal)
We Love Green (France)
Cambridge Folk Festival (UK)
DGTL Festival (Netherlands)
Glastonbury Festival (UK)
Green Music Fest (USA)
Heart of Glass Heart of Gold (France)
Øya Festival (Norway)
Welcome to the Future (Netherlands)
Bona Nit Barcelona (Spain)
Das Fest (Germany)
Extrema Outdoors (Netherlands)
Greenbelt Festival (UK)
Kew the Music (UK)
Liberation Festival (Netherlands)
Northside Festival (Denmark)
Primavera Sound (Spain)
Wood Festival (UK)
Arla Food Fest (Denmark)
Body & Soul (Eire)
Metal Days (Slovenia)
Nozstock: the Hidden Valley (UK)
Paradise City (Belgium)
8,000 attend first ADE Mumbai
Over 8,000 people attended the inaugural ADE Global Sessions Mumbai from 7 to 10 April.
One of India’s first dance music conferences (but not the first: that honour goes to 2009’s Global Groove in Delhi), the event, held in the former Bombay, is Amsterdam Dance Event‘s second global spin-off, after three years of ADE Global Sessions in Aruba, which focused on the dance music market in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
Delegates discussed the state of the electronic music scene in in India and Asia, with speakers including representatives from Bookmyshow, Burning Man, Twitter, BMI, Percept Live, Universal Asia, Sunburn Festival, Boom Festival, The Windish Agency and Skrillex’s label, OWSLA, while Perfectiming, Arjun Vagale, Nucleya and Ankytrixx were among the performers in the evening.
Highlights of the day programme also included a visual presentation by VALIS Studios’ Peter Martin, who spoke on the future of entertainment, virtual reality, the advancement of technology and electronic music festivals in 2026; a keynote on dance music and social responsibility by Sunburn’s Shailendra Singh; and a tribute to electronic musician Charanjit Singh by OWSLA’s Blaise DeAngelo.
India is one of the fastest-growing markets for dance music, with tours by major international artists like Diplo, Major Lazer and Skrillex inspiring a thriving local scene.